The 2020 Florida Legislative Session has begun with a handful of bills aimed at addressing electric transportation. Most of the bills are focused on building out the charging station infrastructure. Learn more about the proposed legislation and which bills may make it over the finish line.Dory Larsen | January 30, 2020
On January 14 legislators waved the green flag to start the 2020 Florida Legislative Session with a handful of bills aimed at addressing electric transportation. Legislative actions over the next 60 days, or lack of, will determine which bills may make it over the finish line.
Here’s a Roundup of Bills to Watch in the Coming Weeks…
Senate Bill 7018 got its start in the Infrastructure and Security committee which is chaired by Sen. Tom Lee (R, District 20). The bill would require Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC), in consultation with other state departments, to develop and recommend a plan to build out the electric vehicle (EV) charging station infrastructure along the State Highway System. SB 7018 would also require the plan to include recommendations for legislation, and authorizes the plan to include other recommendations as determined by the commission. It has a companion bill in the House, HB 1239, sponsored by Rep. Ben Diamond.
A similar bill, SB 452, filed by Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D, District 37), would also create a charging infrastructure study. The difference in the two is that SB 452 designates the lead agency as the Florida Department of Transportation (rather than the PSC). SB 452’s companion bill in the House, HB 943, is co-sponsored by Reps. Dan Daley (D, District 97) and Anna Eskamani (D, District 47).
Two other proposals related to EVs have both been filed by Senator Jeff Brandes (R, District 24). The first, SB 1346 would create an additional annual fee for EVs. The collected fees would be split with 50% going to the State Transportation Trust Fund and 50% going to fund the proposal in Brandes’ second bill, SB 1230, which would create an EV grant program under the Department of Transportation (funded by new fees collected under SB 1346) to fund installations of EV charging infrastructure. SB 1346 is also contingent on SB 1230 being enacted. Both SB 1346 and 1230 have a companion bill in the House: House Bills 1219 and 1221 are both co-sponsored by Reps. Emily Slosberg (D, District 91) and Jackie Toledo (R, District 60). Using fees collected from EV drivers to help build out EV charging stations is a novel concept, but it raises concerns that adding an annual user fee to EVs at this early stage in the market might slow adoption down.
Proposed EV User Fees in SB 1346/HB1221
Vehicle Type Fee 2020-2024 Fee 2025-2030
All-electric under 10,000 # $135 annually $150 annually
All-electric over 10,000 # $235 annually $250 annually
Plug-In Hybrid Electric $35 annually $50 annually
Our Conclusion: These Bills Should be Implemented in the Proper Order So They Work Together
It would be wise to consider putting the brakes on the EV fee increase until the state-wide EV infrastructure plan is completed. With the plan in hand, the state will be sure the earmarked 50% of EV fees proposed to fund charging stations are strategically deployed and help grow the EV market.
Another bill to watch out for impacts infrastructure. SB 1154, proposed by Senator Dennis Baxley (R, District 12), addresses condominium homeowner associations (HOAs). This bill would expand the current law to permit condominium owners to install charging stations in their assigned parking spaces. The law currently allows HOAs to ban the installation of EV charging stations unless the condo owner also owns the parking space in their deed. Rep. Jason Shoaf (R, District 7) has filed a companion bill HB 623. While this will not remedy the overall need for more infrastructure in multi-unit dwellings, it would ease concerns for those individual EV drivers who need infrastructure at home and can afford to install the stations on their own.
It is encouraging to have several bills this session exploring options to increase electric transportation infrastructure, however, there is a narrow window of opportunity until the checkered flag is waved signaling the end of the 2020 Florida Legislative session.
SACE will continue to track all of these bills in order to keep our membership informed. If you would like to stay up to date on this issue and other electric transportation issues, click here to join our Electrify the South mailing list. We publish monthly roundups of EV news in addition to our monthly newsletter.